Service Responses for Survivors of Conflict and Post-Conflict Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Torture in the Great Lakes Region

Citation:

Liebling, Helen. 2018. "Service Responses for Survivors of Conflict and Post-Conflict Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Torture in the Great Lakes Region." In Global Health and Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives, edited by Colleen O'Manique and Pieter Fourie, 28-44. Milton Park: Routledge.

Author: Helen Liebling

Abstract:

This chapter proposes that the impact of conflict and post-conflict sexual violence and torture on survivors has often been misunderstood by service providers, academics, and policy makers. It argues for an alternative conceptualisation that is gendered and recognises the devastating impact on survivors’ reproductive and psychological health based on research carried out in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The importance of placing the voices of survivors central in the security debate is highlighted. Sexual violence and torture are violations of survivors’ rights; their bodies, health, and their right to justice need to go hand in hand. Holistic service responses for survivors and a model of care for service providers are required. It is important that such approaches remain sensitive to gender differences, cultural context, and informed by a considered understanding and normalisation of the impact of traumatic experiences. It is argued that services should address stigma and shame as barriers to service access and hence effective responses. In conjunction with restorative justice processes and social support, this would effectively build on the resilience and reconstruction of identities of survivors and their communities.

Keywords: torture, violence, sexual violence, service provider, gender, health, justice, shame, normalization, social support, gender-specific factors, reconstruction, community, experience, resilience

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, Torture Regions: Africa, East Africa

Year: 2018

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